WAINSCOTT, Long Island (WABC) -- Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday marked the start of construction on New York's first offshore wind project off the coast of Long Island.
South Fork Wind is jointly developed by Orsted and Eversource and is expected to kickstart the state's offshore wind generation when it becomes operational in late 2023.
"The harsh impacts and costly realities of climate change are all too familiar on Long Island, but today as we break ground on New York's first offshore wind project, we are delivering on the promise of a cleaner, greener path forward that will benefit generations to come," Hochul said. "South Fork Wind will eliminate up to six million tons of carbon emissions over the next 25 years, benefiting not only the Empire State, but our nation as a whole."
Hochul made the announcement in Wainscott, flanked by United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and other elected officials.
"America's clean energy transition is not a dream for a distant future - it is happening right here and now," Haaland said. "Offshore wind will power our communities, advance our environmental justice goals, and stimulate our economy by creating thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation. This is one of many actions we are taking in pursuit of the president's goal to improve both the lives of American families and the health of our planet."
New York has a stated goal of developing 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
"This project will also create hundreds of good-paying jobs, helping spur economic growth across the region as we continue to recover from COVID-19," Hochul said. "This is a historic day for New York, and I look forward to continue working with Secretary Haaland as we lead our nation toward a greener, brighter future for all."
South Fork Wind will be one of the first commercial-scale offshore wind projects to commence operation in North America, but not everyone is in favor of the project.
The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and others have filed lawsuits against several government and corporate entities involved in the project and other wind farm projects in the Northeast.
"Offshore wind makes no sense," said Kevin Hapin, with the Coalition of Families Against Offshore Wind. "It's dirty, it's dangerous and it's inefficient."
Selected under a 2015 Long Island Power Authority request for proposals to address growing power needs on the east end of Long Island, the project will be located about 35 miles east of Montauk Point. Its 12 Siemens-Gamesa 11 MW turbines will generate approximately 130 megawatts of power -- enough to power over 70,000 homes -- and its transmission system will deliver clean energy directly to the electric grid in the Town of East Hampton.
Over a 25-year period, South Fork Wind is expected to eliminate up to six million tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road annually.
Long Island-based contractor Haugland Energy Group LLC was selected to install the duct bank system for the project's underground onshore transmission line and lead the construction of the onshore interconnection facility located in East Hampton.
The agreement will create more than 100 union jobs for Long Island skilled trades workers, including heavy equipment operators, electricians, lineworkers, and local delivery drivers who will support transportation of materials to the project site.
Fabrication of the project's offshore substation is already underway.
New York State has five offshore wind projects in active development, the largest portfolio in the nation.
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